1. Empty boxes that you might need for shipping – Throw out all but frequently used specialty boxes. Materials management (the shipping department) should have the necessary shipping materials to pack, pad and ship hospital-owned items.
2. File Cabinets of old Equipment History records from the days before computers – How many of us still have these sitting in the back corner because we don’t want to throw them away. I suggest consulting Risk Management for guidance and sending them to off-site storage, just as old x-rays and medical records are stored.
3. Components (resistors, capacitors, ICs, vacuum tubes, etc.) which haven’t been touched in years – Look near the oldest guy in the shop, the crusty old timer who can fix anything and your staff knows to go to if they need the most obscure part or piece. He has it all, and won’t want to give it up. He is the ultimate packrat. I suggest donating these components to a humanitarian organization for shipment overseas, where they actually have to jury-rig medical devices to keep them functional.
4. Boxes of parts for equipment that is no longer in the hospital – Who thinks about purging your parts stock (or service manuals) when certain models of equipment are finally removed from the hospital? Periodically, go through your parts and manuals and either sell them, give them away, or donate them to a humanitarian organization for overseas use.
5. Equipment being stored for ‘some future installation” – Much of this stuff will never be plugged in again. As Biomeds, we have ‘soft spots’ for equipment which we have lived with and nursed into operation at 3 AM. We have seen it function reliably for years and cannot bring ourselves to throw these ‘old friends’ in the dumpster. Just do it.
6. Bookshelves full of Health Devices Alerts from 1980 until 1999 – Almost every shop has between 10 to 30 linear feet of bookshelf space dedicated to stuff will never be read. Throw it away.
7. Old equipment carts that nobody wants, but Biomed snagged from the trash for future use – We are the ultimate packrats and have an aversion to throwing away anything that might have use in the future. Let your technicians take them home to use in their garages (with hospital permission.)
8. Equipment waiting to be repaired – Many shops let equipment build up, clutter desks, block access to the shop, and generally impede the daily operations of the shop. Why not fix the broken equipment (what a concept!) and clean out the shop?
9. Old equipment you are saving ‘in case you need a part’ – Sometimes useful, but if critically examined, the likelihood of every using any of these ancient parts is so remote that they can be safely discarded.
10. Old computer monitors (green and amber and VGA) – What’s this all about? Where can they be used? Who would use them? Why not buy a flat screen for $200?